On Monday New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the government would be extending its lockdown following an outbreak of the Delta variant.
“We don’t yet believe that we have reached the peak of this outbreak, or necessarily the edge of it,” Ardern said at a news conference in the capital Wellington.
Meanwhile, in nearby Australia, residents are entering the ninth week of a lockdown that had initially been scheduled for two weeks. In many of the hardest-hit parts of the city, NBC reports, military personnel roam the streets and authorities issue fines of up to $3,700 to individuals breaking lockdown orders.
The policy has resulted in violent clashes between police and lockdown protesters, but public health officials have defended the policy, which is expected to last at least through September.
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“What this is about is buying us time,” said Kerry Chant, the chief health officer in New South Wales state.
Lockdown Deja Vu
The decision by New Zealand and Australia to lockdown—and stay in lockdown as the virus spreads—fits a familiar pattern.
In 2020, numerous governments around the world went into lockdown to attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In the United States, public health officials created a “15 days to slow the spread” campaign—which quickly devolved, in many places, into indefinite closures of all economic sectors deemed “non-essential.”
The results of lockdowns were catastrophic—millions of job losses, millions of businesses destroyed, surging drug overdoses, increased youth suicide and depression, and a massive decrease in cancer screenings, among them. Globally, as many as 150 million people are expected to slip into extreme poverty, according to the World Bank.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School, recently called lockdowns the “biggest public health mistake we’ve ever made.”
“The harm to people is catastrophic,” said Bhattacharya.
The harms would be bad enough, but an abundance of evidence also suggests the lockdowns were ineffective at containing the virus. Nearly three dozen academic studies have been published suggesting that lockdowns do little to slow the spread of the virus.
Following the outbreak last year, modelers warned that Sweden would incur “at least 96,000 deaths … by 1 July without mitigation.” To date, fewer than 15,000 Swedes have died with coronavirus, and Sweden saw a lower death spike than most of Europe. Moreover, neighbors such as Norway and Finland, who had policies similar to Sweden, had among the lowest COVID mortality rates in Europe.
“[Lockdowns] have not served to control the epidemic in the places where they have been most vigorously imposed,” Bhattacharya told Newsweek earlier this year.
— Jon Miltimore (@miltimore79) July 28, 2020
Critics of Sweden's "lighter touch" policy always return to the fact that Sweden's Covid fatality rate is higher than its Nordic neighbors, Finland and Norway.
What critics fail to realize is Finland and Norway adopted a policies *less* restrictive than Sweden's. in June. pic.twitter.com/7T6FGcEsn7
— Jon Miltimore (@miltimore79) November 12, 2020
New Zealand and Australia’s Failed Attempts
Unfortunately, the current lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand are proving no more effective at slowing the virus than the lockdowns of 2020—despite the hardline approach of their governments.
The 3-day moving average for cases is nearly 1,000 in Australia—nearly double its peak in 2020. In New Zealand, meanwhile, cases have quickly surged to more than 60 per day—despite the fact that New Zealand went into lockdown after learning of a single case of COVID.
New Zealand's aggressive effort to eradicate COVID—going into lockdown after a single case was found—isn't working.
Reminder: lots of evidence shows stay at home orders didn't work in 2020. pic.twitter.com/EQZ9oG5Jdo
— Jon Miltimore (@miltimore79) August 27, 2021
Australia literally created a police state to enforce its lockdown.
It's not working any better than lockdowns did in 2020 in nations across the world.
Daily cases now almost 1k—nearly 2x peak from last year. pic.twitter.com/CfHaF2YFmO
— Jon Miltimore (@miltimore79) August 27, 2021
One reason lockdowns struggle to contain the virus is that research shows that stay-at-home orders may actually be counterproductive.
“Micro evidence contradicts the public-health ideal in which households would be places of solitary confinement and zero transmission,” University of Chicago economist Casey B. Mulligan noted in a National Bureau of Economic Research Paper published in April. “Instead, the evidence suggests that ‘households show the highest transmission rates’ and that ‘households are high-risk settings for the transmission of [COVID-19].’”
Economists at the RAND Corporation and the University Southern California reached a similar conclusion regarding the ineffectiveness of “shelter-in-place” orders months later.
“We fail to find that shelter-in-place policies saved lives,” the authors reported. “We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies,” the authors explain.
A Police State By Any Other Name
Sadly, governments are compounding the tragedy of the pandemic with lockdown policies. Citizens are not just forced to deal with just a deadly pandemic; they are also forced to contend with police states that are growing increasingly aggressive and brutal.
In Australia, rescue dogs recently were shot dead to prevent charity workers from picking them up—because it would require travel. The state is also using “health hotels” to involuntarily confine COVID-positve citizens, while multiple quarantine facilities are being constructed, including a facility in Queensland that will house up to 1,000 people.
Australians who have declined to submit themselves to state confinement have found themselves on the run. Police also are allegedly monitoring fitness trackers to make sure individuals are not traveling beyond the boundaries established by the state.
“It’s getting harder and harder to hide if you’re doing the wrong thing,” Channel 9 News Sydney recently reported.
🚨 Police in Australia remove a man suspected of having Covid, from his home for an “indefinite stay” at a Covid hotel pic.twitter.com/RrUSrfYfrg
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) August 17, 2021
Expect these anti-lockdown protest in Australia to grow pic.twitter.com/8qOkhsxkls
— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) August 21, 2021
From Melbourne, the police are reviewing people’s fitness trackers on the street to make sure they haven’t been outside or traveled farther than allowed.
Australia is lost.
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) August 25, 2021
#BREAKING: From September 13, NSW residents that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be given new freedoms.
— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) August 26, 2021
It's those people doing the wrong thing, driving our record case numbers.
Among the most concerning – a COVID-19 patient – on the run tonight from one of our hotspots tonight. Police and health authorities have issued an urgent appeal. @tiffgenders #9News pic.twitter.com/gJAIYVljZT
— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) August 21, 2021
Australians who’ve gathered to resist these measures have been violently suppressed by police, who have shown no hesitation to use rubber bullets and pepper spray against them. This week video emerged of a child crying in agony after being hit in the face with pepper spray by police during a freedom rally.
“I can’t see,” the boy cries as rally attendees try to wash the chemicals from his eyes with water.
The images are terrifying, and many people are beginning to awaken to the moral horror that is engulfing the Land Down Under.
“Australians (and perhaps all in the west): are you being asked to choose between the dangers of a police state vs the dangers of Covid?” author Jordan B. Peterson tweeted Thursday. “I would certainly prefer the relatively low risk of the latter to the increasingly unpleasant certainty of the former.”
Australians (and perhaps all in the west): are you being asked to choose between the dangers of a police state vs the dangers of Covid? I would certainly prefer the relatively low risk of the latter to the increasingly unpleasant certainty of the former) opinion, @JohnAndersonAO
— Dr Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) August 25, 2021
Needless to say, these results are not what Australian lawmakers intended when they went into lockdown. They no doubt had hoped to contain or at least slow the spread of the virus; that’s not happening.
Their police state, they would contend, was designed to keep people safe, not create tyranny. But that’s exactly what it is doing.
And this potential for tyranny is pregnant in lockdowns everywhere.
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go,” US President Harry S. Truman once observed, “and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
Terror is what Australia’s government has become. Let’s pray that New Zealand and indeed the rest of the world finally recognize the true face of lockdowns.
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has been the subject of articles in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Star Tribune.
Bylines: Newsweek, The Washington Times, MSN.com, The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, the Epoch Times.
This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.
The Dangers of Speaking the Truth Diminish If We Work Together
It’s becoming harder and harder for patriots to ignore the deep suppression of truth that’s happening in America today.
In all of my years in journalism, I have never received as many threats or been attacked by big companies like Google and Facebook as I have in 2021. I’d say that ever since we started covering widespread voter fraud, government-endorsed Pandemic Panic Theater, vaccine cover-ups, Critical Race Theory, and the various Neo-Marxist and Satanic agendas at play, I’ve been targeted more in months than the entirety of my life prior.
Speaking the truth is getting harder with so much censorship and suppression rampant. Prior to 2020, I was not a “conspiracy theorist” or an “anti-vaxxer,” but if there’s one thing the onslaught of exposed lies have taught us in the last 18 months, it’s that we cannot take what we’re told by the “arbiters of truth” at face value. There’s an agenda behind every message, a narrative driving every story, and a series of gigantic cover-ups designed to keep the masses in the dark.
This is why we’re building a network of news outlets that are willing to go against the narrative and expose the truth. We need help. We’re establishing strong partnerships with like-minded news outlets and courageous journalists. Even as Big Tech suppresses us, the honest messages they’re trying to quash are finding their way to the eyes and ears of patriots across the nation. With the help of new content partners like The Epoch Times and The Liberty Daily, we’re starting to see a real impact.
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I’ve said much of this before. From time to time I reframe this request for assistance by taking the most relevant message of the day and adjusting the story accordingly. We’ve discussed this network in previous articles. Now, it’s time to talk about help. First and foremost, we need financial assistance detailed below. But we could also use more writers who are willing to volunteer their thoughts for the sake of spreading the message. Those who are interested should contact me directly.
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Yes, We Need Your Help
I hate being “that guy” who asks people to donate because I think our conservative news network is so crucial, but here I am…
When I left my cushy corporate job in 2017, I did so knowing that my family would have to make sacrifices. But I couldn’t continue to watch the nation slip into oblivion and was inspired by President Trump’s willingness to fight the good fight even at his own personal expense. What I didn’t realize then is that conservative media would be so heavily attacked, canceled, and defunded that the sacrifices would be extreme.
Many in this nation are struggling right now even though we weren’t struggling just a few years ago. I’m not alone. But I wake up every morning and operate the sites we’ve been able to build because there’s really no other choice. I refuse to be beholden to Big Tech like so many other conservative news outlets, which is why you won’t see Google ads here. With that said, it’s often challenging to pay the bills and it’s even harder to expand so we can get the America First message out to a wider audience.
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